SAD asks CM to upgrade health infrastructure and safety measures for health workers

Chandigarh, April 10 – The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today asked chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh to upgrade health infrastructure and safety measures for health workers and double their salaries besides making private hospitals active participants in the fight against COVID-19. He also advocated giving a government job to the next of kin of all COVID-19 victims in the State.

Making these recommendations in a letter to chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh, former minister Bikram Singh Majithia said Punjab was lagging behind as far as measures needed to combat COVID-19 were concerned with there being an acute shortage of Ventilators, testing kits and PPE kits. “There are only 123 ventilators functioning in the State in government hospitals with a number of districts not having any ventilator in the government sector. There are another 270 odd ventilators available in the private sector but these are not being used optimally.” He said similarly there was a shortage of PPE kits as well as gloves and masks besides testing kits. “Lack of adequate testing kits has also resulted in turning away of COVID-19 patients from hospitals when they reported ill only to test positive later”.  

Bikram Majithia also pointed that out that since 70 per cent of the population relied on the private sector for medical treatment and the government was under equipped to handle COVID-19 patients as seen in the cases of Padam Shri Bhai Nirmal Singh Khalsa, the government should make private hospitals active participants in the fight against Caronavirus. He said district level committees of both government and private doctors should be made for this purpose besides a State level Advisory Board.

The SAD leader also called for a relook into the entire strategy of handling COVID-19 patients. He said as per a recent survey of all States, it had been revealed that despite the fact that Punjab recorded 114 cases, it had witnessed eight deaths. He said the average was much less in other States including Tamil Nadu which had seen only eight deaths for 738 cases. “Even in neighbouring Haryana only two deaths have occurred out of 167 patients reporting ill with COVID-19”, Majithia told the chief minister.

Suggesting actionable points to the chief minister, Majithia said there should be adequate provision

for PPE kits to all health workers and other staff on frontline duty in both government and private hospitals. He said there was an urgent need to purchase new ventilators as well as ensure functionality of all available ventilators in the State. He said stressed the need for purchasing adequate testing kits to test all citizens based on risk assessment in a phased manner by associating private laboratories in the exercise.

The SAD leader also strongly advocated doubling the salaries of all frontline health workers, including doctors, nurses, para medical staff, hospital staff, laboratory staff and Ambulance personnel to give a clear signal that the State valued the service they are rendering for the cause of humanity at grave personal risk. He said all health workers, whether government or private, should also be given an insurance cover of Rs one crore to instil confidence in them. He also urged that the government lease out hotels and guest houses to quarantine doctors and health staff treating COVID-19 patients.

Listing recommendations for the welfare of COVID-19 patients, Majithia said the State should provide appropriate psychiatric treatment for all patients so that they do not fall into depression. He also urged the chief minister to look into complaints of unhygienic conditions in government hospitals and ensure appropriate sanitization. He also urged that televisions and other facilities including video calls with family members be facilitated for all quarantined patients to ensure they maintained good mental balance. Majithia said next of kin of COVID-19 victims should be given a government job.

Speaking about the steps needed with regard to the general public, the SAD leader said more awareness needed to be created in league with social organizations to ensure the mortal remains of the victims were not disrespected in any manner. He said places could be earmarked in each district where PPE kits and protective equipment should be made available at control rates along with a rate list. He also called for taking strict action against those hoarding or indulging in black marketing of protective medical gear.

Majithia in his letter to the chief minister also reiterated that the SAD was committed to assisting the government in the fight against this deadly pandemic and assured him of the party’s fullest cooperation to ensure the State emerged victorious.

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